“I met with all my Cabinet, including the new Cabinet members, some of whom have extraordinary experience, and I directed the Cabinet to develop an aggressive management agenda that delivers a smarter, more innovative and more accountable government for its citizens,” Obama said. “We're going to continue to adopt good ideas from the private sector.”
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said the onus is on Obama to "approach Congress as a partner" in finding common ground on the issue.
"This time, instead of trying to find a way to work around Congress, President Obama needs to approach Congress as a partner in reorganizing federal agencies," Issa said in an email to The Hill. "This is something that Congress has said, on a bipartisan basis, it wants to do. There is common ground on this issue and members of both parties and both chambers stand ready to work as partners with the President.”
The president also held up his campaign infrastructure as a model for efficient data use, and said the technological principles it utilized could be integrated into how the government uses and publishes data.
The administration is touting its attempts to create a “21st century” government by utilizing new technologies and partnering with technology experts in the private sector.
Obama has made the modernization of federal government databases a priority of his presidency, often tying it to claims that his is “the most transparent” administration ever, although he acknowledged on Monday that “progress has not always come quick and major challenges lie ahead.”
Last year, the White House chose 18 Presidential Innovation Fellows from the technology industry to aid in the initiative and recently ushered in a second class of fellows to continue the work.
Obama on Monday spoke of a visit he made to Google headquarters in the Silicon Valley, and said the new program would have “some of the smartest people from the private sector” working side by side with “the smartest in the public sector” to innovate and redesign how the government uses and publishes data.
Among the goals the administration hopes to achieve include streamlining the bidding process for government contracts to make smaller companies more competitive, as well as the ability to track individual applications for federal benefits online.
The administration says it has already achieved the digitizing of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster recovery analytics through mobile Web apps and by arming FEMA workers with IPads for door-to-door outreach during a natural disaster.
The initiative has also led to the creation of the Data.gov website to keep business owners and consumers apprised of federal data resources, such as credit card complaints, weather and climate patterns, and the costs for procedures at individual hospitals.
Updated at 12:56 p.m.